Controversial article debates sending daughters to college

Published: Monday, Sept. 16 2013 4:15 p.m. MDT

A female student walks through the Utah Valley University campus in October 2011. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) A female student walks through the Utah Valley University campus in October 2011. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

The article “6 Reasons (+2) to NOT Send Your Daughter to College,” by Raylan Alleman of the Fix the Family organization has elicited heated responses since it went online Sept. 8.

“After looking at the issues we raise, we would challenge anyone to convince us that college for girls is not a near occasion of sin,” Alleman wrote in the article. “In order to forgo further discussion (argument) on the issue of college for girls, this article will outline the principal reasons for shunning college for girls.”

In his piece, Alleman addresses and rebuts common reasons many women may choose to attend college.

“College and education have very little to do with each other. College has become more of a training ground for a job. Let’s be clear: college graduates receive a diploma, not necessarily an education,” Alleman wrote. “Many wise people in years past obtained great educations by seeking knowledge from books and good material. Today, anyone can learn anything they want with the vast library system across the country and with the easy access of the Internet. So the real reason girls go to college is for a degree, not an education.”

One blogger acknowledged that the Internet provides free access to much information but disagreed with the opinion that women do not need a college degree.

“Catholic doctrine wasn’t exactly written for 2013, where two paychecks are often vital to the survival of a family, or women don’t always get married at 22 so they need a way to support themselves,” Lindsay Kurt said in a reaction piece to Alleman’s article. “I don’t know a single unmarried woman in her twenties whose parents would be willing to completely support her financially until she finds a husband.”

The article continued by listing reasons for parents not to send their daughters to college including, “she will attract the wrong types of men.”

“What normally happens with this setup is that those lazy men who are looking for a mother-figure in a wife are very attracted to this responsible, organized, smart woman who has it all together along with a steady paying job with benefits,” Alleman wrote. “So if he wants to go to work he can, but if not he can always fall back on her income. Or if he 'doesn’t want to have to answer to anyone' he can start his own business, and it doesn’t matter if it fails or succeeds or makes enough income because again she’s there to help.”

The article has received strong criticism online.

“So you’re saying that men who are dedicated, hardworking, and responsible cannot be attracted to a woman with the same qualities?” a response by Forgetting to Breathe says. “That’s a laughable idea. Especially since many people meet their future spouse in college and, presumably (as the author suggests), both of those people are there because they want a career of their own and are working hard for it.”

Others asked what the college-age women should do as an alternative to college.

“So, please, what is an 18yo girl to do then? Bag groceries till a prince charming comes along to give a few kids?” wrote Michaela Tomas, a commenter on the article.

Different Christian groups disagree with the article, saying there is value in women attending college.

“My husband is emphatic on this point, and I agree: we want our girls to be self-sufficient. Not self-dependent,” said a writer who lists her name only as Elspeth in her article “Why Our Girls Are Going to College” on Traditional Christianity.com. “Parents of daughters need to raise feminine, grounded, capable women rather than princesses languishing as they wait for a prince who may never come.”

Abby Stevens is a writer for the DeseretNews.com Faith and Family sections. She is a graduate of Brigham Young University–Idaho. Contact her at astevens@deseretdigital.com.

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